A space communication system incorporating a concatenated Reed Solomon Viterbi coding channel is discussed for transmitting compressed and uncompressed data from a spacecraft to a data processing center on Earth. Imaging (and other) data are first compressed into source blocks which are then coded by a Reed Solomon coder and interleaver, followed by a convolutional encoder. The received data is first decoded by a Viterbi decoder, followed by a Reed Solomon decoder and deinterleaver. The output of the latter is then decompressed, based on the compression criteria used in compressing the data in the spacecraft. The decompressed data is processed to reconstruct an approximation of the original data-producing condition or images.